Tucked away in the hills and valleys all over America, you’ll find a number of scenic highways and byways.

While many of these aren’t advertised as ‘must-see’ destinations or hot spots, the truth is, many of them have a lot to offer — especially for road trippers. 

Ohio 52 is one of these hidden gems. While it might seem like it’s just another highway, the reality is different. Route 52, as it rolls through Ohio is also known locally as the Ohio River Scenic Byway. 

Now, that sounds pretty interesting, right? We thought so, and that’s why this post is all about Ohio 52, the Ohio River Scenic Byway. 

Let’s take a look!

Traveling Along Ohio 52

If you want a place to start on your Ohio 52 road trip, head to Cincinnati. From there, you can follow the byway along the Ohio River. It runs over 400 miles through a variety of counties. Just across the Ohio River, you’ll find the Kentucky border. Route 52 runs right along the river until it crosses over it just before the city of Huntington, West Virginia. 

Things to Do and See

As with any road trip that lasts a few hundred miles across a state, there are plenty of things to see and activities to enjoy along the way. Here are a few places you might consider stopping along Ohio 52.

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In Cincinnatti, be sure to check out the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens. You can pay a visit to its most famous resident, Fiona the hippo. The Cincinnati Art Museum is another popular choice for visitors too.

Heading Southeast, you can stop in Ripley, Ohio. Here, you’ll find the John Rankin House. Rankin was one of the most prominent ‘conductors’ of the Underground Railroad. Rankin and his family are estimated to have helped hundreds of slaves on their search for freedom. 

If this part of history interests you, far from Ripley, across the river in Maysville, Kentucky you can explore the Underground Railroad Museum

Keep traveling along Ohio 52 and you’ll find the Richard & Lucile Durrell Edge of Appalachia Preserve System. It’s a privately owned reserve that also has a number of National Natural Landmarks.

Love a little car racing? Make your next stop at Portsmouth Raceway Park. Here you’ll a track that hosts all sorts of events, plus camping. 

As you arrive at the end of the road and venture towards Huntington, West Virginia, there are a few places to check out there too. 

For a taste of Appalachian life, spend some time at Heritage Farm Museum & Village which replicates pioneer life in this area from hundreds of years ago. Huntington is also home to the Museum of Radio and Technology too, they have lots of vintage equipment on display.

Getting There

You can get to Cincinnati from a number of spots across the Midwest. It’s less than two hours from Columbus, Dayton, and Louisville. Regardless of which direction you take along your drive, make sure to leave extra time to stop and explore along the way.